By Marco Briceno, Personal Insurance Counselor

As Americans, we should be sharply aware that our rights come with responsibilities. Owning a firearm, in particular—whether as a hunter, sportsman, or protector of home and family—involves taking on a significant amount of responsibility.

All fifty states have concealed carry laws that allow qualified persons to carry concealed firearms in public. Restrictions and qualifications vary from state-to-state, but nowhere does holding a concealed carry license make a licensee immune from civil or criminal liability if they cause property damage or bodily injury to another person.

Intruder Legislation a.k.a. Castle Doctrine

Many people in Wisconsin purchase firearms intending to protect their loved ones if an intruder were to break into their home. States like Wisconsin pass intruder legislation for this reason. (Sometimes this is referred to as “the castle doctrine” in reference to the adage that one’s home is one’s castle). Today, this legislation directs most criminal and civil courts to presume that you acted reasonably if you were to use deadly force in this manner.

Still, there is a gap.

What won’t your homeowner’s insurance cover?

Standard homeowner policies have exclusions that do not provide coverage for personal liability and medical payments if you [intentionally] cause property damage or bodily injury to another person. This exclusion is very broad, and while many people have challenged the exclusion by filings claims, as of today the exclusion stands. That is why it is important to understand how to mitigate this gap.

While your liability and medical payments coverage are excluded under your homeowner’s policy, you can still insure your firearm against physical damages it may sustain. By scheduling it under your homeowner’s policy, you can protect it against theft, tarnishing, scrapes, scratches, and so on, very similar to insuring a piece of jewelry.

Filling the gap

Companies like Second Call Defense, the National Rifle Association, and U.S. Concealed Carry Association position themselves to fill this gap in the standard homeowner’s policy. They’ve designed their products to protect you should you find yourself being sued and need to defend yourself in court.